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Eschatology Issues VI

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Question #1:

Could you please clarify this part of Isaiah 53:12:

(12) Therefore I will allot to Him [the plunder] among [His] many [brothers], and He will apportion plunder to the mighty [among them].

and Isaiah 8:13-15?

Response #1:

Isaiah 53:12 is speaking of the spoils of victory, the victory of the cross. This theme of "plunder" coming from defeating the devil in the conflict which rages beyond our eyes and which really explains and defines human life in so many ways is very prominent in scripture (see the link at CT 6 where this and other passages are treated on this subject: "The Spoils Principle"). Jesus won the rulership of the world; we share in that rulership. And the spoils consist of gifts of the Spirit given now and rewards parceled out at the Judgment Seat of Christ when we will be evaluated for what we have done in this life (see the link: The Judgment and Reward of the Church).

Question #2:


Thanks for the response. I am acquainted with missionary over the world from personal travel, mission efforts I did in other countries and testimonies. One fact that strikes home is the sudden and very rapid increase of New Churches and expansion of the Christian Message in third World Nations. In the Past few years there are places in countries like India, Africa and so forth that Church numbers have jumped into the hundreds where there were only one or two. Why has this happened so suddenly when the mission efforts have been in place in many of them for several hundred years? Is God about to do something? Sudden change is clearly a mark that God is causing something to happen or about to happen. One thing that impressed me about this is where this happening NO INCREASE in the number of missionaries has really occur where the massive revivals are happening.

Response #2:

Well it is interesting alright. I am no expert on these matters, but from the little personal or third hand information I have about this and from what I have been able to glean from reports the one thing I have read that seems to stand out about all these new churches is the superficiality of the teaching and the lack of any doctrinal depth. I suppose that is understandable. The West (and especially the US) has been the heart of missionary activity for several centuries at least, but, as you mention, our efforts in supporting missions have been woefully insufficient in recent times – not only in terms of numbers and financial help but also in terms of the level of preparedness of those sent out (and it is unreasonable to suppose that the new part of the Church should be able to spring forth spiritually mature without the help of the older part). That comes with the territory in old line denominations (like the Presbyterians of whom I have some knowledge), where very little truth remains any more (in the official organizations at least). Just as church has become entertainment, I note that mission trips have replaced much of the prior thrust and force and support for true missionary efforts (two weeks in Guatemala may give a person a "warm fuzzy feeling", but it can't compare to spending one's life down there, making true converts, and actually teaching them something about the Bible – or supporting someone else willing to do so). So while I hate to be a wet-blanket – and I am of course delighted when any person is genuinely saved and perseveres to the end with faith intact – it might be well to consider that many of these individuals, like many putative Christians in this country, will possibly belong to the one third of the Church militant prophesied to apostatize during the first half of the Tribulation (in the Great Apostasy: 2Thess.2:3; Rev.12:4; see the link). There is much chaff abroad in our era of Laodicea (certainly plenty of it in this country), but on the positive side of things we can also note that the Tribulation will refine the faith of many. For while one third will fall away, one third will be willing to give their lives up for Jesus Christ (in the Great Persecution; see the link), and the final third will be raised while yet alive to meet our Lord when He returns. In my view of things, all this is more reason to double-down on personal spiritual growth through the truth of the Word and to do whatever we can to help brothers and sisters in Christ to do likewise, wherever they may reside on the earth.

And when He (i.e., the Lamb) opened the fifth seal, I saw below the altar the living persons who had been slain because of the Word of God and because of the testimony which they had maintained.
Revelation 6:9

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Dear Ones,

I was speaking with a Bible Scholar the other day and he contended that the term Groom of Christ should be used instead of the Bride of Christ. What is your defense of these terms? He said he felt using the feminine term Bride versus Groom was wrong and very demeaning! Also, he contended that the true beginning of the Church began at Acts 28; he had many proofs. What do you say? I'd love to hear your exegesis of these positions, I'll await your soon reply.

God bless

Proverbs 11:30

Response #3:

Dear Friend,

Good to make your acquaintance. As to the beginning of the Church, while the "Church Age" begins with the gift of the Spirit, the Church per se includes all believers resurrected at the Second Advent (1Cor.15:23); therefore the Church contains all Old Testament saints and all who have subsequently believed or will before our Lord's return (see the link: "The Church").

As to the Bride of Christ, well, this is a biblical term and I use biblical terms regardless of "theological" arguments to the contrary (cf. Matt.9:15; Matt.25:1-13; Mk.2:19; Lk.5:34; Jn.3:29; 2Cor.11:2-3; Eph.1:22-23; 5:22-33; Rev.19:7-14; 21:2-4; 21:9ff.; 22:17).

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
Revelation 21:9 NIV

The Lord is the Husband of the Church, and we believers are responsible to respond to Him as would a faithful wife to her loving husband:

(25) Husbands, love your wives as also Christ loved His Church and gave Himself over [to death] on her behalf, (26) so that He might sanctify her, having purified her by the washing of the water [of truth] in [His] Word. (27), so that He might Himself [and] for Himself present His Church in glory, without spot or blemish, but so that she might [instead] be holy and without blame.
Ephesians 5:25-27

Personally, I find nothing demeaning in yielding up my will to my Lord who is my all and my everything – I only wish I were better at doing so!

Please feel free to write me back about any of this.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #4:

Hello Dr. Luginbill:

I was studying your chronology of the seven days of human history, and I noticed that the Jewish age is missing the seven years, with the explanation being that the last seven years of the Jewish age will occur in the tribulation. That being said, we are currently in the church age. However, in the Jewish age, the keeping of the 613 laws of Moses was required, while in the Church age we are living under the grace of Jesus Christ. This means that when the seven years of Tribulation comes:

(1) The church age will end, and 7 final years of the Jewish age will begin, under which the temple shall be rebuilt and the keeping of the law shall commence. During this time, all Christians will cease to be under grace (as in the Jewish age) and we too will be required to keep the law.

(2) Everyone saved under grace will be taken into heaven before the tribulation begins.

It is confusing and incompatible to assume that the grace of Christ will be under operation during the final years of the Jewish age (especially considering that in neither of the 1993 years this was the case), which means that the simplest explanation is that all Christians are taken into heaven before the tribulation begins.

As someone who was a believer in the post-tribulation rapture, I find that this is an extremely rational reason for one to believe in the pre-tribulation rapture. I encourage you to keep an open mind regarding the subject.

Your brother in Christ,

Response #4:

Actually, I teach that the seven years are a "shared time" between both ages. For the details, please see the link: "The Tribulational Overlap".

The distinctions made between Jewish and Church ages are often overblown in any case. After all, there is only one resurrection of "the Church", and when it happens both Israel and the gentiles who preceded them and the Church per se (i.e., the predominantly gentile group of the last two millennia which actually is composed of both Jews and gentiles) will all be resurrected together – from Adam and Eve to the last believer of the Tribulation. That is to say, "dispensations" are important but largely misunderstood in terms of what they do and don't mean (please see the link: "Dispensations"). They are primarily concerned with how God's truth is distributed – but God's truth is graciously distributed in every age of human history. Moreover, every human being who has ever been saved is a beneficiary of God's grace. Also, please remember, as Paul reminds us, Abraham was saved before circumcision, and the Law was not introduced until many years after Abraham. The fact that the final seven years before our Lord's return will be a joint time which both concludes the present age and also the age of Israel means mainly that Jews will again take the leadership role in the Church. It does not mean that God's grace will in any way be reduced or that gentile believers will have to keep the Law (there is nothing anywhere in scripture to suggest anything of the sort – Jews before Moses did not keep the Law either because there was no Law). So I find this to be an argument from a sort of hyper-dispensationalism whose premises I don't see as biblical in the first place. Even if I did, the fact that the Tribulation is a jointly shared time would eliminate the problem (even if there was one).

I am happy to keep an open mind – about everything except when the truth of the Word of God is certain. And in this case, the testimony of scripture is very clear. There is no rapture before the Tribulation (please see the most recent link on this: "No Rapture").

According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming (parousia) of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
1st Thessalonians 4:13 NIV

"Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming (parousia) and of the end of the age?"
Matthew 24:3 NIV

There is only one more parousia (coming) of the Lord: the Second Advent when we will rise to meet Him in the air.

In our dear Lord Jesus for whose return we breathlessly wait,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

First of all, I would just like to let you know that I've changed my mind on this issue, after reading the articles you've sent me and sleeping on this issue.

Secondly, Revelations 8 seems to suggest that the tribulation (which comprises three woes) will begin with a huge catastrophic event (the first woe) that will destroy much of humanity, (and between you and me, it sounds /a lot/ like a meteorite collision)

"The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a HUGE MOUNTAIN, ALL ABLAZE, WAS THROWN INTO THE SEA. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a GREAT STAR, BLAZING LIKE A TORCH, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night." (Revelations 8:7-12)

With that being said, various of the previous seals seems to suggest that much of the atheism which we see today is actually God "building up" human delusion, so that much of it is brought down by the advent of the "first woe".

"As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man, They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all." (Luke 17:26-29)

Today it seems a lot like the days of Noah and Lot: men are lusting after other men, humans now seek to merge with "technology" just like the Nephilim of old, and the building and planning of huge and costly humanistic monuments. I think that there is much to observe.


Response #5:

Thanks for your email. I couldn't agree more that the times seem to be ever more "ripe", and the circumstances progressively more conducive to engendering the events of the Tribulation scripture describes. With the removal of the Holy Spirit's restraint (see the link), we can expect things to develop far more rapidly once the Tribulation actually begins than anyone would imagine possible during the present era. That fact accounts for any and all of the circumstances of the Tribulation which may seem impossibly far off at present. But as you say, these are all beginning to look increasingly less impossible with every passing day. As the trumpet judgments are precursors of and warnings about the Great Tribulation, I expect them to precede directly the last three and a half years. You can find my discussion of these matters in CT 3A, "The Trumpet Judgments" (and here is a chart that maps out their chronology at the link).

Your brother in the hope and the kingdom of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob,

If you will be so kind, I need to call upon your Biblical Greek expertise regarding the use of the Greek "enistemi" used in 2 Thess. 2:2.

This word is used in the Greek PERFECT Tense and would seem to suggest, relative to Paul's communication with the confused and alarmed Thessalonians, that their concern was that it was at that point in time, to be a completed past action that either EXISTED at that PRESENT TIME (Has Come - Is Present) or was to be IMPENDING to Come Into Existence in the close/near "At Hand" future - at that time.

This being the case then - respective of the Greek Perfect Tense ascribed to the Greek "enistemi" here, would it be incorrect to suggest that this stated "Day of Christ", as revealed by Paul as NOT "enistemi", in 2 Thess. 2:2, in the mind of the Thessalonians had ALREADY COME and GONE and was completely in the PAST - relative to Paul's point of disclosure?

It seems to me that ALL of the definitions for the Greek "enistemi", seem to suggest something that is Close at Hand, Imminent, Standing On, Present, or Come - all of which does not actually support something that would have ALREADY COME and GONE and would have been consequently and completely in the Thessalonians' PAST.

In other words, respective of the Greek Perfect Tense regarding "enistemi", was Paul saying the "Day of Christ" has NOT already COME and GONE (Past), or was he saying the "Day of Christ" has NOT already ARRIVED (Come at ALL), or was he saying that the "Day of Christ" is NOT PRESENT at that time, or was he saying the "Day of Christ" is NOT IMPENDING (At Hand) - at that given time?

Your support in this concern will be most appreciated.

Response #6:

Good to hear from you.

As to your question, Paul is saying that "the Day of the Lord" (however it is understood: see below) had not yet arrived and was not even immediately imminent (because the time needed to fulfill prophetical end time events even if the Tribulation began that very day). The KJV says: "as that the day of Christ is at hand". That translation is at best misleading because it suggests that the false teachers were not saying that "the Day" had already come. It's not an error of grammar as much as it is an error of misinterpretation. It seems clear to me that the KJV translators here were off about what "the Day of the Lord" meant (or didn't understand it at all: even the Reformers were not much into eschatology). Since it was unclear to them what "as though the Day of the Lord has arrived" might mean, they bent the translation for interpretative purposes. The KJV usually doesn't do this sort of thing, but all translations must at certain points interpret (otherwise gobbledygook can result). I note that the New KJV goes to the other extreme to correct this mistake: "as though the day of Christ had come" (even though it is usually over-solicitous of the KJV).

Here is how I render the verses:

So we ask you, brothers, in regard to the coming our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling together to Him [at His return], that you not be so easily moved from your correct understanding [of these matters], nor disturbed [by doubts about what you should know to be true] – not even if [this "new information" purports to come] through a spirit, or an [inspired] word or a letter supposedly from me, declaring that the Day of the Lord is already upon us.
2nd Thessalonians 2:1-2

The critical point Paul is trying to make, of course, is that the Tribulation had (and has) not already begun, and that Jesus had (and has) not already returned nor had (has) the resurrection already been accomplished – remember that in his earlier letter he had to knock down similar false notions (1Thes.4:13-18). Paul goes on to give two unmistakable events which must precede the Second Advent and the Great Tribulation: the Great Apostasy and antichrist's session in the temple at Jerusalem (both of which occur before or just at the second half of the Tribulation).

The perfect tense in Greek expresses a present state (as opposed to a present action). The reason why Paul has chosen to phrase things in the way he does is no doubt to avoid a long explanation of just what the "Day of the Lord" can mean in scripture. The "Day" per se begins when our Lord returns, but it also very often encompasses the period of judgment and distress which directly precedes it and is for that reason often associated with it, namely, the Tribulation. It is for that reason, I believe, that Paul uses this verb in this way. My translation, "declaring that the Day of the Lord is already upon us", is a phrasing which admits of both imminence and accomplishment: because the Day was neither immediately imminent nor had it already begun. In this way, he can head off both the false teachers who said "the Lord has already returned" (and you've missed the resurrection) and also those who said "were in the Tribulation already" (when nothing of the sort was true). For more on the meaning of the term "the Day of the Lord" as it is used throughout biblical prophecy, please see the links:

The Day of the Lord (in CT 1)

The Day of the Lord Paradigm (in CT 1)

The Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord II

The Day of the Lord (2Pet.3:10)

End Times Interpretation II

Yours in Jesus Christ whose "Day" we so eagerly await.

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

If you will be so kind as to let me borrow some of your Greek language knowledge, it will be MOST appreciated.

Therefore, if we conjugate the English PAST PERFECT Tense "HAD" with a Greek PERFECT Tense verb - are we not in affect imposing and implying the "force" of the Greek PLUPERFECT Tense upon this said Greek PERFECT Tense verb?

For example, the Blue Letter Bible uses as their example Mk. 15:46 - also translated as such by several other NT Biblical translations, where the Passage has their following annotation:

The Pluperfect Tense - http://www.blueletterbible.org/help/Greekverbs.cfm

The pluperfect has the same aspect as the perfect, yet it's time is farther removed into the past than that of the perfect. Both the completed action and the results of that action occur in the past. It also represents action that is complete and viewed from a point in the past time. [3] The usual translation for the pluperfect is "I had loosened."

Example: Mar 15:46

In a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock

To this end, in my search for evidence to support a Greek PERFECT Tense and its English conjugation, I can only find the English PRESENT PERFECT Tense conjugations of "HAS - HAVE", etc... Likewise, I can only find the English PAST PERFECT Tense conjugation of "HAD" for the Greek PLUPERFECT in the "indicative mood".

However, I am by no means suggesting that this cannot be translated as such, an English PAST PERFECT (HAD) conjugated with a Greek PERFECT verb, but when it is done does it carry the "force" and implication of a Greek PLUPERFECT Tense?

For example, the NKJV translates 2 Thess. 2:2 and the Greek PERFECT Tense "enistemi" as being conjugated with the English PAST PERFECT Tense "HAD" - rather than the usual English PRESENT PERFECT "HAS".

2 Thessalonians 2:2
not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

Therefore, from a purely Greek grammatical standpoint - is this not saying that they by their own arbitrary "CHOICE" are implying and imposing the "force" of the Greek PLUPERFECT on this particular said Greek PERFECT Tense verb "enistemi", which would result in their having to prove, without any reasonable doubt, the implied Greek PLUPERFECT compliance from Scriptural CONTEXT - or else the stated Greek PERFECT Tense verb would be given the preponderance of evidence by default - and the Passage then being translated and conjugated as the normal English PRESENT PERFECT "HAS" ..! . for the Greek PERFECT Tense verb "enistemi".

Just, what are the guidelines as far as the English conjugation(s) for the Greek PERFECT Tense verb - should we use the rare English PAST PERFECT "HAD" or should we look to the English PRESENT PERFECT "HAS - HAVE - IS", etc.?

Your scholarly attention to this matter will not be forgotten.

Response #7:

Good to hear from you. In general terms, it is true that the perfect = "has" and the pluperfect = "had". As I think I shared with you in our earlier exchange on this, I would translate as follows: "declaring that the Day of the Lord is already upon us". The perfect represents a state that is currently in place (as a result of some action in the past). The pluperfect suggests that the action has come and gone, but there are factors which may complicate this simple "rule". Translation is more of an art than a science. That is because no two languages are the same, and what a translation really should aim at doing is to perfectly transfer the precise meaning from the original to the target language. This all but impossible task requires attention not just to grammatical "rules" (which are nothing more than observations about norms which scholars have compiled over the centuries) but also to nuance and vocabulary and context and an author's particular style and any number of other factors – not the least of which is how the particular translation will be understood by those who hear/read it (and whether or not that will line up with what the original actually means).

When it comes to moods and tenses in the New Testament, for example, the effect of the Hebrew system on these writers for most of whom the Hebrew scriptures were a major influence cannot be overlooked. And there are exceptions in all languages – and language is fluid. What we mean today when we use many English words and phrases is often not at all what Washington and Jefferson meant. We can understand their writings, but we have to "filter" them through that earlier American English register in our heads to grasp the nuances. Another issue here is the question of epistolatory tenses. That is to say, even in English if we are writing a letter to someone we often take into account that when they read the letter it will be later in time than when we wrote it, so we sometimes project that disparity of time into our correspondence, and that happens in Greek as well.

Finally, as also explained in the last letter, the Day of the Lord is not so simple in that, while it technically begins at the Second Advent, in the prophetic usage of the Bible it also often comprises the "last days" that lead up to that Day (i.e., the Tribulation). I think Paul phrases things in 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-2 the way he does in part to avoid anyone nit-picking on this point. His phrasing makes it clear that, however one wants to describe it, the Day of the Lord had (and has) not yet come. It has not started, it has not passed, the preliminary period of the Tribulation has not yet begun – it is not "upon us" in any way one would be able to potentially construe that idea. Since that is what Paul means (and of that I am absolutely sure), using the pluperfect would not be awful (although you are right that it is not technically correct). All of the major versions I consulted on this (outside of the KJV's very misleading "is at hand") have "has" (except for the New KJV which as mentioned earlier goes to the other extreme to correct KJV: "had" – in terms of overall meaning, however, at least it's not as bad as KJV). I still prefer my own translation ("declaring that the Day of the Lord is already upon us), because I believe it captures Paul's desire to embrace any possible interpretation of the Day so as to "shoot down" every strain of false teaching on the subject by declaring unequivocally that the end times had at that point not, in fact, yet begun (however defined):

So we ask you, brothers, in regard to the coming our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling together to Him [at His return], that you not be so easily moved from your correct understanding [of these matters], nor disturbed [by doubts about what you should know to be true] – not even if [this "new information" purports to come] through a spirit, or an [inspired] word or a letter supposedly from me, declaring that the Day of the Lord is already upon us.
2nd Thessalonians 2:1-2

Hope you find this helpful. Feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I thought about my brothers in Christ and you came to my mind and I'm hoping things are well with you. God has used the enemy to try my faith with more trials (threatened by lawsuits from lying tongues, biased supervisor trying to get rid of me, etc.), and as I prayed over these things I felt an overwhelming feeling of comfort and assurance that I couldn't describe, and I know that it was God giving me the confidence that He will see me through these. Now I'm no longer bothered by these. You came to my mind during my prayers to because I care for my brothers in Christ, especially those who have helped me a lot. I know you can handle anything that comes your way through Christ and I look forward to things progressing on your end. I know your prayers for me have helped me a lot.

My bible question is regarding the false prophet being mentioned in the Old Testament. I found several passages alluding to the Antichrist, but not the false prophet. How do bible teachers interpret these passage to be the Antichrist and not the false prophet? The book of Revelation says that both the Antichrist and the false prophet control the unbelieving world in the latter times. In Daniel it says that "by peace" he will destroy many and in Revelation it says that the false prophet has horns like a lamb, which seems to indicate that he'll deceive by false peace. I could be interpreting this wrong. What passages in the Old Testament speaks of the false prophet and how do bible teachers interpret the OT passages to be the Antichrist rather than the false prophet?

Thank you in advance!

God Bless,

Response #8:

Always good to hear from you. Thank you so much for your continued prayer support. I continue to pray for you daily too. We have had some more encouraging news lately but we are still walking through the Red Sea and have not yet made it to the other side. I will surely let you know when the deliverance is complete (as I have absolute faith that it will be soon enough). I have the same flesh and blood issues we all have, however – although I appreciate your confidence.

As to the false prophet, there is very little (if anything) about him in scripture outside of Revelation. Clearly, antichrist is far more important in terms of end time events, and that explains the beast's prominence in Revelation and everywhere else where the Tribulation is in view. As far as individual passages are concerned and what other Bible teachers say, you'd have to give me a specific example. In the New Testament, for instance, John talks very openly about "antichrist" (1Jn.2:18; 2:22; 4:3; 2Jn.1:7), and Paul mentions him very specifically as well, calling him "the lawless one" (2Thess.2:8). Even here it is clearly the beast with whom we are dealing because "he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God" (2Thess.2:4). So this really is the test, namely, the particular actions which the individual in question is described as being involved in. So for example the individual in Daniel 11:21-45 has to be antichrist because of the actions he is described as taking. The main thing the false prophet seems to do is to run the beast's false religion and administer the Great Persecution (i.e., nothing particularly political or military because by the time of antichrist's session when the false prophet appears in Revelation, he already is control of the entire world).

I don't know off hand of any Old Testament passage which refers specifically to the false prophet, but I'm happy to have a look at anything you'd like me to consider.

Here are the links where these matters are discussed at Ichthys:

The False Prophet's Administration of Antichrist's False Religion

The Rise of False Teaching in the Tribulation

The Persuasiveness of antichrist's religion

Characteristics of the false religion

The Anti-Christian Religion and its Worldwide Expansion

Dangers of cooperating with antichrist's religion

In Jesus Christ who is our peace, our confidence, and our life eternal.

Bob L.

Question #9:

Who does Paul mean by 'every so-called god' in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3b-4?

. . . the man of lawlessness, [antichrist,] . . . that "son of destruction", the one who will oppose and exalt himself against every so-called god and object of worship to such a degree that he will [even] take his seat in the temple of God and represent himself as being God.

Response #9:

This refers to all pagan representations. Antichrist's world-religion will incorporate all other religions, not denying them but embracing them as subordinate and alternative "ways" to get to the "truth" which is summed up in antichrist. But he will be the head over all other religions and "so-called gods"; Paul's phrasing is meant both to show the totality of antichrist's alleged superiority and also that the false ideas he is superior to are just that, false. The one exception here is the One true God and biblical Christianity --the only God and "religion" which antichrist will oppose as false. See the links "The Rise of False Teaching in the Tribulation"; "The Persuasiveness of antichrist's religion"; "The Anti-Christian Religion and its Worldwide Expansion".

Question #10:

A question on Isaiah 6:13:

"Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, And it will again be subject to burning, Like a terebinth or an oak Whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump."

What does Isaiah mean by 'a tenth portion'?

Response #10:

This verse is describing the remnant of Jews who survive the Tribulation, those, that is, who were not believers at the time of the resurrection. This small group will be brought back to the fringe of the Land for examination, and all who now accept Jesus as the Messiah will be allowed to enter the Land to enjoy the Millennium. Those who in stiff-necked fashion will still not believe are the ones described in the phrase "subject to burning". This is all covered at the link: The Regathering and Purging of Israel.

Question #11:

Could you please clarify the meaning of Zechariah 2:8-9:

For thus says the LORD of hosts, "After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me.

Is our Lord speaking here of nations oppressing the Jews?

Response #11:

These verses describe the plunder of Babylon, historical Babylon which the Medes and Persians destroyed, but even more importantly for us eschatological Babylon of the Tribulation (see the link: "Babylon Invaded").

Question #12:

Could you please clarify Jude 1:14-15:

It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

Does this passage refer to things that will happen in the second Advent?

Response #12:

I take Enoch's prophecy to be a (standard) Old Testament conflation of the end times as the "Day of the Lord" (see the link: in CT 1: "The Day of the Lord Paradigm"). There is much judgment during the Tribulation (notably, the seven trumpets and the seven bowls), and also at the end of the Tribulation / outset of the Millennium (i.e., the seven thunder judgments). This period of intensive judgment (one of the key characteristics of the Tribulation) is immediately followed by and contrasted to the most blessed time in history, namely, the thousand years of our Lord's glorious reign, the Millennium. When the 1,000 years are over, history terminates in the judgment of Gog and Magog, and then comes the last judgment when every word will be called into account. So as is typically the case for reasons of economy (among other things) Enoch's prophecy runs all of these things together in order to get to the main point: God will judge everyone.

Question #13:

Could you please clarify Matthew 24:22:

Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved

Does it mean that if the Tribulation would last long enough, even the believers would eventually lose their faith?

Response #13:

Either that or (more likely) have been destroyed. Antichrist launches the Great Persecution just after the mid-point of the Tribulation, and during its course one third of believers will be martyred. In the last months before the second advent, the fifth bowl judgment throws his administration of the world into confusion as he is forced to decamp from Jerusalem (the focal point of his religion and of the persecution) and repair to the north to put down an incipient rebellion. But for this interruption – and the shortening of days after he returns south to quash the rebellion that ensues in Israel – he would have wiped out all believers (given enough time). It is also the case that given enough time to rule the world, the world would be entirely destroyed by his regime.

Question #14:


(10) The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. (11) He (i.e., Judah, and thus the Messiah) will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine (2nd Adv.; cf. Rev.19:13-15), his robes in the blood of grapes (1st Adv.; cf. Rev.7:15 with Lk.22:20).
Genesis 49:10-11 NIV

I find the interpretation of this passage difficult to understand. Could you please 'walk me through it', also linking the conclusions to the New Testament passages you provide in brackets?

Response #14:

These are prophecies which go beyond the individual sons of Jacob. Our Lord comes from Judah, so the prophecy is essentially Messianic. The right of the ruler belonged to Judah, and it will be completely fulfilled only when "He", i.e., the Messiah, "comes" (i.e., when our Lord returns). The spattering of His garment is prophetic of the 2nd Advent when our Lord will be spattered with the blood of His enemies in His personal concluding of the battle of Armageddon:

Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save." Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? "I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground."
Isaiah 63:1-6 NIV

The doubling of the figure of blood I take to be a reference to the two advents: His victory over sin through spilling His own blood (metaphorical) , and His victory in rescuing Israel through spilling the blood of her enemies (literal).

Question #15:

Similarly, could you explain:

Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion. Shout [for joy], daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your King will come to you. Righteous and victorious He is (2nd Adv.); humble and riding on a donkey, even on a colt, a donkey's foal (1st Adv.).
Zechariah 9:9

Why does Zechariah talk about the 2nd Advent first?

Response #15:

The second advent was the one most prominently in view from the Old Testament perspective; the problem for many and particularly for our Lord's contemporaries was that they allowed this prominence to obliterate the need and necessity for the first advent. They "stumbled over the cross on their way to crown". We all want and to some degree need to look at the final end, since this is the ultimate goal of our faith, our ultimate salvation. We are weary and deeply desirous of the resurrection and Christ's return – but we may need to get through the Tribulation first. That perspective of the glorious end is fine, as long as it does not obscure what must happen first.

Question #16:

Could you please clarify Isaiah 13:12:

I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold.

The footnote for scarcer says 'more precious' - what is the meaning of this passage?

Response #16:

During the Tribulation the majority of the population of the world will perish. It will be a frightful time (see the link: "General Character of the Tribulation").

Question #17:

You wrote: Secondly, Mark 13:20 indicates that the shortening mentioned is a matter of days, weeks at the most (i.e., not enough to change the general time-line given below).

How can we know that this shortening is a matter of days or weeks at the most?

Response #17:

First, because our Lord is speaking here of the Tribulation (as is made clear in the previous verse); second because the extent of the Great Tribulation is given a very specific length in months elsewhere (see the link: "The forty two months"): and the only way both these passages which specify its length can be true and the shortening also be true is if that shortening is less than a month.

Question #18:

Why will the antichrist have a false prophet? Why would he need one?

Response #18:

Well we do know from the book of Revelation that he does have one. Were I to venture a guess on the "why?", it would be that it in the history of human affairs it has always helpful for self-proclaimed divinities to have go-betweens in religious matters in order to lend credence to the claim of divinity. Just as the true God had priests in ancient Israel, so we assume any "real" god would also have some human being or beings representing the rest of us to the exalted one. In short, the functioning of the false prophet as it is described in the book of Revelation will be t serve to enhance (in the eyes of the unbelieving world) antichrist's claims of being God and Christ.

Question #19:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

I apologize for all the questions but I thought it was better to get them all out at once rather than dribble them out and waste your time.

Is God against internationalism?

Response #19:

No worries. Good to hear from you. As to your questions:

The simple answer is "yes". Nationalism prevents evil from homogenizing the world in order to extirpate true belief. Please see the link: "Law and Nationalism as Restrainers of Satanic Influence". There will only be two "one world" governments in history: 1) that of the devil's son during the Tribulation, and the result will be the most horrific time the world has ever seen, with one third of the Church apostatizing and one third martyred for their faith; 2) the Millennial government of Jesus Christ, the best and most blessed time the world will ever see. Since the world is now in the devil's lap, one world government can only be helpful to him and his, not to the community of faith (and that is why the Holy Spirit is currently keeping that from happening; see the link).

Question #20:

What is the significance of the fact that all seven churches were in Asia? (Please point me to whatever you may have written that address these questions. I'm sure I've missed things.)

Response #20:

I'm not sure that there is a particular significance, other than that in addition to laying out the trends of the Church Age these seven were also actual churches which existed during John's day (and to which he ministered).

Question #21:

In the letter to Philadelphia Jesus says:

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Rev 3:10.

The sense of the English suggests that this is directed to end times believers. It doesn't seem to refer to a span of time unless the temptation referred to is a general statement on the common human temptation.

Response #21:

Yes, I agree, and that is how I take the main application of these letters, namely, as trends which apply to the seven eras of the Church Age. Philadelphia has indeed been "kept from the hour of testing" as that era came and went before the Tribulation commenced. See the link: The Seven Churches.

Question #22:

It appears that Isaiah 17, the Burden of Damascus, could be unfolding in the current crisis. I've understood this to be an end times prophecy. Is it reasonable to understand that, should it occur, it will mark the beginning of Tribulations? Or does it have any relation to Tribulation at all? Could it be after the Millennium?

Response #22:

The prophecies of the nations throughout the Prophets refer generally to the end of the Tribulation and the destruction of their power at Armageddon. There is no unfulfilled prophecy of specific events during the Church Age (see the link), as this is the mystery Age which was entirely unrevealed to the writers of Old Testament scripture (cf. 1Pet.1:10).

Question #23:

Psalm 83 seems to be underway, too. Is it possible that this is related to Isaiah 17? Could Psalm 83 and the Israeli reaction be the catalyst for all of Isaiah's burden prophecies? I realize this calls for a lot of speculation but your speculation would be more helpful that most other's knowledge. Thanks.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #23:

We are certainly encouraged by scripture to consider the times and to be watchful for all that is to come; however, when the Tribulation begins, we will know it (see the link). It is certainly prudent to weigh what we see happening now with a view to how these things might result in or segue into what scripture tells us about the Tribulation, but we cannot be sure before the fact how any particular event or trend will relate to what will come. The most we can do is to recognize, as seems to be the case, that the fig tree is beginning to bud.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.


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